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In Mental Health, Diagnosis isn’t Enough

July 6, 2021

Diagnosis doesn’t necessarily tell us about causation.

They were told their lad had ADHD.

Another couple were told their daughter had anxiety.

Different families. Somewhat common diagnoses.

Those issues may be medically determined, meaning they can be the result of physical illness.

They can be biologically determined, meaning they inherited a genetic predisposition to the conditions.

They can be socially determined, meaning issues within the family gave rise to the problems.

They can be psychologically determined, meaning how they process information and think or feel about things may be at issue.

Indeed, there may be multi-causality, meaning there are several contributes operating at the same time.

Treatment is best determined by how we understand what contributed to the issues the child surfaces with.

If there is an underlying illness, treat that, not the behavior and the issues should resolve.

If genetic, then either a behavioral or cognitive or even medicinal approach may be necessary to help.

If there are issues within the family, then it will likely be some form of counseling always beginning with the parents that should be considered.

All too often kids are seen in isolation and their behavior is assessed as if it came about by magic.

Only by having a deeper understanding and appreciation of what may have given rise to the behavior, can appropriate treatment be applied.

The approach to assessment to help reveal what may be contributing to the issues seen is called a bio-psycho-social assessment.

This begins with a clinician who asks a multitude of questions from biological, psychological and social perspectives.

Yes. I do that with literally everyone I meet.

That is partly why my first meeting is always set for a good three hours.

Having time provides the opportunity to ask the necessary questions to hopefully get a better sense of what has given rise to behavior. With that a more informed approach to help can be determined.

While never a guarantee, this approach to start, lends itself to better outcomes.


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I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by video conferencing.

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Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
www.yoursocialworker.com for counseling and support

www.garydirenfeld.com – to build your successful practice

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, former parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

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